Another Schubert Chokecherry question!

ostrich(3a AB)July 16, 2013

Hi everyone,

I have not been posting for a couple of weeks as I was on vacation and then life just got busy!!! I hope that everyone is enjoying the summer weather.

I posted a question about my Schubert Chokecherry in my front yard last year (it was leafing out so late that I was wondering if it were dead!) - unfortunately, I have to ask another question about it this year!

I am in the process of re-doing my front yard. The landscaper came round and commented that my Schubert Chokecherry did not look so great. For sure, there are lots of branches without any leaf at all. Overall, the tree did not look bad, but I wished that it was fuller looking. Anyway, he said that perhaps I should have it replaced too, while doing the front landscaping.

I am not sure why there are these bare branches without leaves at all... but if I were to replace the tree, I would like to replace it with something else instead of another Schubert! Now, I do have to check with the developer in my area to make sure that I won't get into trouble for doing so though, as the entire tree has this tree.... (don't get me started on this!)

My questions to you all are:

1. Why would these branches have no leaf at all?

2. If you were to replace it with another smallish tree with purple foliage, what would you recommend, bearing in mind that I am in Chinook country!

Thank you for your help!

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I remember your tree,..I'm thinking of a severe transplant shock, tree unable to feed some parts of the branches.
It might get better over the years, ..if some branches are dead or almost dead, cutting them off and let new branches form from the stem might be the answer? I would think by now the tree should be trying to push out new shots, if it does, then most likely it will do OK,...no new shoots, get rid of it.

Can't think of other trees having this kind of color.
Perhaps Maple or crab apple.
Not dark leaves but you might like the amur cherry, Prunus maackii with it's bronze bark, this one is super hardy.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:15AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Oh yes yes yes my very favourite small tree/large shrub is Ninebark Diablo. So very gorgeous. They only reach about 8 feet from what I understand though, so maybe not big enough for you.

Tonight I almost bought a Ninebark Centre Glow which turns reddish in the summer, but I stood in Canadian Tire for like 10 minutes thinking where I would plant it and nothing came to mind. Even though it was 1/2 price and not dead. LOL.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:06PM
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donna_in_sask

konrad,

Funny you should mention the maackii, I was going to suggest it. My former neighbors put one in - it is a very slower grower, so if that isn't a problem, it is a good choice. Not sure whether you can still buy Japanese Tree Lilac, but those are pretty trees too.

The Schubert chokecherry is very prone to blackknot and the berries drop on the deck and stain it. I don't even have one in my yard and I don't like this tree! It is next door, with its advanced case of blackknot that the clueless neighbors refuse to address. They have a Mayday tree in their front yard that looks like it has gotten the disease too.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:41PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks, konrad - maybe I should be a bit more patient! It's just that when they are re-doing the front yard, it will be a lot easier to replace the tree now, then when it's all done later.

Anyway, here's a photo from this evening - pardon the quality of the photo as it was taken with my Blackberry - you see how some branches (esp. the ones on the upper left side) are leafless:

Donna and northspruce, I think those are nice choices too, but is it worth spending $500 now to replace it, when the tree might stand a chance later? Tough one.... oh, Donna, I have a Coppertina that I planted last year - gorgeous colour, isn't it!? Kinda similar to Center Glow but more compact.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:36AM
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don555(3a)

To answer your original questions...
1) The branches that have no leaves are dead and will never have any leaves.
2) I can't think of another smallish purple tree, perhaps some ornamental crabapples would come close?

As for the dead branches. If you want to keep the tree, don't worry about the dead branches, new ones will grow to replace them. Cut out the dead wood and in a year or two the tree will look like nothing ever happened.

Schuberts are way overplanted and are prone to terrible black knot fungus, so maybe think about if you even want the tree at all, or would rather remove the tree and use the extra sunshine to make some nice perennial beds. Might not be allowed, depending on the development requirments.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 2:34AM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

I'm going to cast another vote to get rid of it.

In answer to your question "is it worth spending $500 now to replace it?" Yes!

Will it be worth $500 later to get rid of it? Yes! But you will have wasted years and then still end up having to start over.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:05PM
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shazam_z3

Just remember... Whatever you replace it with, there's a disease that affects it too...

There are many crabapples that would do you well, but they're quite prone to fireblight. We haven't had such an outbreak in a while in Calgary, but they do happen (last was late 90s).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:24PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

It`s hard to beat a Schubert Chokecherry for leaf colour - they are tough - I see them(or what I at least believe to be them) planted through the Home Depot parking lot in Lethbridge and so far so good. My neighbour also has 2 in her yard - VERY nice and no problems yet. Gladiator crabapple has dark leaves but not as purple/red as the Schubert. Thunderchild crabapple has dark green leaves with reverse of purple but again not quite the eyecatcher that the Schubert is.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:33PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Well, there's one tree that has the same purple leaves. Purple leafed sandcherry. But don't plant it, it's not hardy and will be a small ugly tuft of branches every year when it dies back to the snow line. I imagine it's nice where it's fully hardy but here it's a perennial waste of space.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 7:10PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks everyone! Believe you me, I did NOT want this tree. It was forced upon me because I was TOLD that my street MUST have this tree so that it would create this all purple boulevard look in the neighbourhood..... supposedly it was the rule. I did not have any choice in this selection.

Anyway, now that I am considering changing it out, I am trying to figure out if it really is a rule, or whether the builder was just telling me porkies!

If I were to switch it to a new Schubert Chokecherry, I might as well not change it and see how this one might do, after some appropriate pruning.

However, while I would like to change to another tree, I also did not want to stand out too much on my street - if everyone has a Chokecherry but then I had a different one, my neighbours might not like that too much....

I had a sandcherry in my last house in zone 5 - boy, that was a magnet for insects! So I swore that I would never get another one! LOL!

I thought of something like Fuchsia Girl crabapple, but I didn't want to have crabapples dropped all over my front yard....

SIGH! Thanks again though!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:18PM
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donna_in_sask

We live in a planned subdivision and the front landscaping was included in the total cost. Everyone has green ash as their front tree, including us. My friend, who lives on the same street but down a block, was a much more experienced gardener than myself back when our trees were still small. For some odd reason, HER tree met with a certain demise...hmmm...she replaced it (at her cost) with a very nice tree....the rest of us schmucks have to contend with cleaning up a million seed pods and pulling out seedlings every year from our front lawn.

I'm sure there are pluses and minuses with every tree, but if I knew then what I know now about green ash, I would have made sure it kicked the bucket too.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 12:48AM
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CLBlakey

I have a cute little purple sand cherry it must be in a protected space as it did not die to the ground nor does it have bugs. I have a thunderchild crab in the front the leaves are more purple than green.

Your tree has way more leaves than the one I just swapped out. I would be inclined to prune and try and save it but then again I am uber cheap.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:17AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I was thinking purple-leaf sand cherry too, but didn't recommend it because mine dies back every year. If it would ever get above 3' tall, it would be very nice, but it doesn't. Darn.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:41AM
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shazam_z3

ostrich, you can plant whatever you want. Unless the community has restrictive covenants (VERY RARE in Calgary - I know of only one community that does in Calgary) regarding the type of tree you can plant in your front yard, and you'd remember, because you have to sign the agreement, there is absolutely no way the developer nor anyone else can enforce what you do with your land within the context of the city's zoning.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 12:02PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

Here is a not so great view of Gladiator Crabapple - has small berries so not a mess problem.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:19PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

Here is Thunderchild Crabapple for comparison.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:21PM
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CLBlakey

I wasn't thinking to put in a purple sand cherry to me they are more like shrubs but was commenting on the die back so far I have been lucky.

Shillan that thunderchild looks way better than mine how long has it been in the ground. My leave look wind blown except for the new ones. It was planted this year

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:42PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks everyone for your information!

I am right now inclined to leave the tree as it is.... I do like the purple colour and I don't think that the other purple trees have foliage that matches this. The biggest hurdle for me is that, I don't know what other tree I want for that area!!! So I should just leave it alone and see what happens.... for now! I reserve to change my mind any time I want!!! LOL!

Seriously, I do like the Ivory Silk Tree Lilac but it seems a bit boring when it's not in bloom. Amur Cherry would be beautiful but then it will eventually be too big for the small front yard. Sigh! I hope that I have made the right decision...... thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:44AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I'd probably just leave it too Ostrich. How knows how long it'll take to get black knot, and in the meantime I think they are nice looking trees.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:23AM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

CL Blakey - I just planted it this May - it has lost a lot of leaves because of all the wind we had throughout May and June and it just couldn`t suck up enough water - but it seems to be holding its own now.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I'd do the same, ostrich.
Your neighbors tree doesn't look much better, a large transplanted tree like this takes at least 2 to 3 years before taking off. Give it about two times a year a high middle # fertilizer, cut off all dead wood.
Keep an eye on the blacknot and cut it out as you see it, mine, about 10 years old never got it. The only problem is the suckering.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:52PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks northspruce and Konrad, for your reassurance! I think this is the right decision for now.

Anyway, just when I thought that things were going OK, guess what? The Calgary Locating Service people came round yesterday and marked out my front yard - dear Schubert is sitting right over the gas and electricity lines!!!!!!!!!! Sigh! What do I do now? How aggressive are the roots of Schubert? Would they really cause problems if I leave the tree where it is now?

Why is it that this front yard thing is giving me so much headache!? LOL

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:57AM
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donna_in_sask

The utility lines are about 1.2 meters below the surface, so they shouldn't do any damage. However, the city might ask you to move the tree if it's located in the area of the utility easement.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:48AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Donna, thanks for the reassurance! That does make me feel better. Now, pardon my ignorance though - I thought that trees have roots deeper than that? I really am not familiar with this at all.....

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 8:10PM
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donna_in_sask

The tree roots will just grow to either side of these lines and cables...they won't penetrate them like the clay tiles from old sewer lines.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:08AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks for the info, Donna! Now I feel a whole lot better... :-) Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

If you haven't replaced it yet, consider Thunderchild crabapple. It gets a bit larger than Schubert, and is not generally as symetrical. The leaves are very similar in both shape and colour.

In June you get a mass of hot pink flowers. In winter you have small crabapples about the size of peewee marble. They tend to stay on the tree until the waxwings invade and gobble them up.

Thunderchild is resistant to fireblight.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 7:08AM
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